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Mar 25, 2012


As an autism mom, I'm thankful for pizza. Here's why:  This weekend hasn't been a good one for me.  First off, my daughter is in a funk.  I literally have to wrestle with her to get her to do anything that involves wearing clothing or doing anything besides flooding the bathroom.  She's tantruming sooooo much right now.  I don't know what to do with my cute little girl.  Secondly, yesterday I found my iPad in the toilet. I think that pretty much means goodbye. I'm hoping the rice trick works, but I don't have high hopes cause the screen was already cracked, and I could totally see water all throughout it.  Perhaps the worst part of my weekend was when I went to check on Garrett (who I thought was napping), and his bedroom window was open, and there was no sign of Garrett. He figured out (and he's not even a rebellious teenager) that he could sneak out the window if he wanted to go have some fun.  Luckily, I knew he had been obsessing about our park across the street, so I didn't have to go far to find him.  So stressful. I ended up having to switch his and Caiti's bedrooms because Caiti's window leads to the backyard, so he's not going to run off if he climbs out of the window in that bedroom. That led to even more problems though.  Autism doesn't make it easy to handle change. Caiti has been screaming/kicking her bedroom door for 2 hours straight because she doesn't want to sleep in a new room.
So where does pizza come into all this:  My sister Michelle showed up this evening with a couple pizzas and a smile. That was the best part of my day. She knew just what I needed. I'm glad she followed whatever little prompting she was having and came to help brighten my day a little bit.

Mar 24, 2012

Autism Research

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for the numerous organizations dedicated to autism research.  Due to our family's strong family history of autism, Caiti who was 2 when we moved here, and Jason who was 6 months, took part in UCSD's study for Infant Development and Autism. It makes me proud that somehow we could use the situation we were handed in an effort to help the research community to find out a little more about autism.  My children were not a part of the study listed below, but I was very excited to see this article about recent findings also from UCSD:

UCSD finds genes possibly linked to autism

-Written by Gary Robbins
UC San Diego neuroscientist Eric Courchesne
UC San Diego neuroscientist Eric Courchesne 
March 22, 2012 | Photo by Howard Lipin

UC San Diego has inched closer to the root causes of autism, identifying genes that appear to go haywire before a child is born, preventing the brain from developing normally.
Neuroscientist Eric Courchesne says he and his collaborators found evidence that many genes basically misfire, producing an overabundance of brain cells in the pre-frontal cortex that affect a child’s social, language and communications skills.
The problem begins during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, the period in which most brain cells are created.
“Essentially, the wiring pattern for the brain goes wrong and you don’t get normal development,” said Courchesne, director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the UCSD School of Medicine.
The findings, published Thursday in PLoS Genetics, could provide insight about how to treat and prevent autism.

Scientists say that part of the brain of young people with autism is significantly larger than those whose brains develop normally. UCSD Autism Center of Excellence
The new paper builds on a line of research that Courchesne has been following for years. In 2003, he showed that there is a link between the overgrowth of the brain and autism. Then last November, Courchesne reported that the brain of male boys with autism had 67 percent more cortical cells than they should have. Such cells are created before birth and play a fundamental role in social, communication and cognitive development.
The latest study indentifies at least some of the genes that are responsible for the problem, and helps to explain how and when the dysfunction occurs.
“This is telling us a lot about the beginnings of autism,” said Courchesne, who arrived at his conclusions by examining brain tissue samples from younger and older people who are autistic. He said, “We were looking for the residual signature of genes whose activity was not normal.”
Courchesne looked for these genetic “echoes” in people aged 2-14 years old, and in people 17-57.
“We looked at older people because it is well known that autism changes with age,” Courchesne said.
The researchers found evidence that, at least in some cases, the brain was attempting to rewire and remodel itself.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that the rewiring is being done adequately or accurately. It could be getting things further and further wrong,” said Courchesne. “But many autistic children get better. It could be that some of the remodeling is successful. I am very excited about this.”
He said the findings from the adults “are telling us that the brain development problem hasn’t stopped. It is on-going. There may be signals or genetic changes that are attempting to deal with the original problem.
“That would seem to offer a potential target for pharmaceuticals to improve the remodeling.”

Mar 19, 2012

Daddy Will Be Home In This Many Days

As an autism mom of some cute kids who absolutely adore their daddy, I'm grateful for ways to help them know he's still around and will be back soon.  When Kevin is underway for a couple weeks or on deployment, it is so hard for these kids, but little things like this make it a lot easier.

Mar 18, 2012

Borrowed Inspiration

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for borrowed inspiration.  I have been kind of a boring mom lately. My kids are going crazy...and hence doing annoying things like flooding the bathroom and dumping bags of carrots, etc.  Today, I made myself admit that they get into the most trouble when I'm not paying attention to them.  So I decided to make myself play with them...but I totally drew a blank. I know that can be a problem with any mom, but especially of mothers of children with a way of thinking and seeing things that is different than theirs.  I looked into a bunch of blogs with lists of things to do with your kids.  Here are just a few:

Then I wrote a bunch of appropriate activities for my kids down on popsicle sticks and made myself a "jar" out of decorated tupperware to keep them in.  Then when my kids are being especially antsy and bored... I can follow the advice on the front of the "jar" and get up off my butt and play with my kids.  :)

Mar 17, 2012


As an autism mom, I'm thankful for the flexibility I have learned to have in accepting that things are rarely going to be normal at my house.  We are very good at being unconventional.
Here's an example; this morning I caught Jason writing on one of our kitchen chairs with a permanent marker.  I started to be annoyed...except that I thought it was soooo cute...among my feelings of,"How naughty!"
That, and the thought of how hard it is to actually remove the permanent marker, made me decide to just leave it.  So we labeled it with his name.  Then I had Caiti draw on a chair and wrote her name on it.  Same thing with Garrett.  So now we have unconventional chairs for my unconventional family.

St. Patrick's Day

As an autism mom, on St. Patrick's Day, I'm grateful for the green characters in my kids' lives.  The two favorites are Shrek, and Kermit.  :)
These are the go-to at my house when their mommy is ready to pull her hair out...or fall over from exhaustion.  Love these movies because actually, coincidentally, both Kermit and Shrek are entertaining to me, as an adult, as well my kids.  :)

Oh, and let's not forget who my kids think of when I make them try to say, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

Mar 9, 2012


As an autism mom, I'm so thankful for bubbles.  How fun are they?  My sister brought over her bubble machine, and my kids were happy and out of trouble for hours.  Yay!

Different Perspective

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for my kids, and how they help me see the world through different glasses.  :)

Mar 2, 2012


As an autism mom, I'm grateful that our pictures are, for the most part, highly entertaining.  I love the unposed way that my kids take their pics.  :)
The BEST family picture ever.
Garrett "helping" put up the Christmas tree.  :)
Cute Jason reading the daddy book when Daddy was deployed.

...and yesterday was our first attempt at a photo booth.  :)